Release type: Media Release


New mining project to boost employment options for Indigenous job seekers

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, today launched the mobile mining school project which will help Indigenous job seekers gain skills and find work in the mining industry.

The Australian Government has contributed more than $750 000 through the Structured Training and Employment Project (STEP) program to the Waanyi National Aboriginal Corporation to undertake a trial for the Northern Project Contracting Mobile Mining School in Brisbane and Townsville.

The pilot program will see the 30 Indigenous job seekers undertake a five week accredited training course run through the Mobile Mining Schools, using a mix of off-site training and on-site practical training with mining equipment.

The course that the job seekers from Brisbane, Palm Island and Yarrabah will undertake is based on the Mining Industry Skills Centre’s Work Readiness Program and the Caterpillar Haul Truck Simulator trainer package.

"Significant shortages of skilled labour currently exist in the regions in Australia where mining operations are undertaken," Mr O’Connor said.

"At the same time there are often significant numbers of Indigenous job seekers in these regions. This program not only provides training but also helps job seekers secure employment once they have completed their training."

Once training is completed, participants who attain accreditation will continue employment with Waanyi Mining Services.

Mr O’Connor said graduates of the school were expected to be quickly placed into mining jobs in the Bowen Basin and Mt Isa Minerals regions.

"The Mobile Mining School pilot is an innovative way to bring industry and job seekers together and if successful the concept could be expanded to service regional areas in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

"Several major mining companies have already expressed strong interest in this trial and in employing graduates of the project."

Mr O’Connor said the Waanyi Nation Aboriginal Corporation has also secured a one-day introductory mining course for up to 160 Indigenous jobseekers and secondary school students.

"These job seekers may go on to undertake the Mobile Mining Course and eventually work with Waanyi Mining Services," he said.